Flight Ops to China: Tips for Arranging Security, Ground Transport and In-flight Catering

PT 2 M minute read
Don't use taxis in China for pax/crew ground transportation

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to China and continues from our last post entitled: 8 Tips for Aircraft Ground Handling and Fueling in China.

When operating to China, there are important considerations to keep in mind regarding security, ground transportation and in-flight catering services. To ensure a successful trip to China, we recommend using an experienced 3rd-party provider and local ground handler.

1. Consider security arrangements when planning your trip

China is generally considered a low-risk area from a security perspective. Private security guards are not permitted on the ramp at airports in China, but airports throughout the country are very secure. Executive protection personnel are not permitted to carry firearms, but you can hire local police protection with prior arrangement. Guns on aircraft must be locked up and left onboard. You will not get a permit to take your guns off the aircraft. Often, executive protection services are arranged through local providers, and security is recommended for passengers traveling to Urumqi, China (ZWWW).

2. Pre-book local ground transportation

One of the most common crew frustrations is crew transportation. Using a local ground handler who can orchestrate reliable transportation is very important. Even with ample planning and coordination, ground transportation issues occasionally occur. Examples include delayed crew transportation or the crew being taken to the wrong hotel. It’s critical to use providers you trust. A good 3rd-party provider or local ground handler will vet transportation providers carefully, know what the best options are in each region and have them show up 15-20 minutes prior to any scheduled pickup time. It is recommended to avoid local taxis, unless you are fluent in the local language.

This may seem redundant, but work with your 3rd-party or local ground handler to reconfirm all pre-booked crew and passenger local transport arrangements. Without proper planning and reconfirmation, there’s a risk of having ground transportation issues. We have an international trip planning checklist that can help you with this, which you can download here.

3. Consider in-flight catering requirements and limitations

In-flight catering is seldom an issue at major airports in China. Catering options, including a full range of Western-style foods, are very good at all major cities. In more remote areas, you may find it best to cater from your hotel or a nearby restaurant. In such situations, we recommend you supply them with heating containers sized to your galley equipment to ensure easy re-heating at a later time. Also, please note that when you land in China, food waste will be disposed of by a catering company with a quarantine officer in attendance.

It’s best to request an in-flight catering agent, together with the local ground handler, to meet the crew on arrival and assist the crew with the catering and de-catering. If a qualified caterer is not available, the ground handler will likely recommend the crew order catering through its hotel. This will allow the crew to make all arrangements in advance and avoid delays close to departure.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to China, contact Christine Vamvakas christinevamvakas@univ-wea.com.

Later we will discuss overflight and landing permits in China.

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